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The Enlightenment: A Genealogy

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  16 ratings  ·  2 reviews
What was the Enlightenment? Though many scholars have attempted to solve this riddle, none has made as much use of contemporary answers as Dan Edelstein does here. In seeking to recover where, when, and how the concept of “the Enlightenment” first emerged, Edelstein departs from genealogies that trace it back to political and philosophical developments in England and the D ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published December 15th 2010 by University Of Chicago Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Maybe the author should have called this `AHMERGEWRD FRANCE IS SOOOO AWESOME IN THE 18TH CENTURY!!11!` That would have been a more honest title, really. The book is about the French enlightenment and keeps throwing names at me, the unknowing reader not getting who is who and what is when and not seeing the forest for the trees. The penultimate chapter said stuff about other countries, which was the most interesting and best understandable part. Pity.
Conclusion is weak – the author explains the genealogy of “French Enlightenment” and not of “the Enlightenment.” I would have liked to see more inter-relations among the Continental countries and British countries, not just in a summarized form in one chapter, as it is hugely relevant to consider these. The author says at one point that “somewhere someone might have independently described their age in a similar way…” and the shortage of references to works other than of French seem to suggest h ...more
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